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Fig.1. Pinch Harmonics

-Pinch Harmonics are created when you pluck a string with a pick then immediately afterwards mute the string by touching it with the thumb of your pick hand. This creates a tonal screaming effect. Fret the the strings as you would normally.

-Hold the Pick so a small portion of it extends from between your thumb and index finger.  Use a thicker Pick and grip it tightly.

Video 1. An example 1st without the Pinch Harmonic then with.

-It may seem difficult at first but it doesn’t take long and they are easy to consistently reproduce.

Video 2. A simple Riff using Pinch Harmonics.

How To Play A Pinch Harmonic: The Pick is held a little tighter with a little less of it exposed than normally.  Immediately after picking,  quickly & lightly touch the vibrating string with the end of your Thumb (touch it ind pull it away quickly).  This gently mutes the string and creates the characteristic whistling squeal of the Pinch Harmonic.  Try moving your pick hand to find the best place along the string to create the Pinch Harmonic.
The Pinch Harmonic sounds clearest when played on an Electric Guitar with Distortion Effect added.

-The effect is quite dramatic when using an electric guitar with the distortion cranked up because of the sustain you get from the solid body of the guitar and a feedback effect from the distortion.
ZZ Top are well known for using Pinch Harmonics in their music.

ZZTop Rough Boy 1994


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